Team on top: Only three programs have captured back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association titles, and Drexel will try to become the first repeat champion since Delaware won in 2010 and 2011. The Dragons graduated five starters from last year's squad that made it to the NCAA quarterfinals, but they do return five starters, including sophomore attackman Cole Shafer (35 goals and 18 assists) and senior midfielder Ryan Belka (25, 21). Drexel led the conference in scoring with 209 goals -- the first time the program broke the 200-goal barrier.
Team on the rise: If not for Drexel, Hofstra might be the top choice for the league crown. In fact, the CAA preseason poll has predicted the Pride to finish first and the Dragons to finish second. Like Drexel, Hofstra lost five starters and return five starters. The team welcomes back five of its top eight scorers from last season, including junior attackman Sam Llinares, who will be relied on to duplicate last year's 21-goal, 32-assist campaign.
Team on the decline: In 2014, Massachusetts went 7-6 overall and 1-4 in the CAA, finishing fifth in the league. The problem was an ineffective offense that scored a conference-low 119 goals. The hope is that perhaps that unit will develop after a year of experience, but it will have to do so without a pair of midfielders from the first two lines. The defense was solid, surrendering just 126 goals, second only to Penn State's 116 goals allowed. But can the Minutemen repeat that effort after losing two starting close defensemen?
Prime-time player: Llinares -- named the conference's Preseason Player of the Year -- paced Hofstra last season in assists and points, both of which were career highs for him. His 2.1-assist average ranked 10th in Division I, and his 3.5-point average ranked 29th. Llinares won't have attackmen Torin Varn (32 goals and five assists) and Lance Yapor (18, 6) and midfielder Drew Coholan (22, 10) to work with, but senior midfielders Mike Malave (26, 7) and Korey Hendrickson (17, 9) will be back to fuel the offense.
Underrated player: Fairfield, which played in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, replaces Penn State in the CAA, and the offense features an unheralded attackman in senior Colin McLinden. He scored 51 points last spring, the first 50-point season for a Stags player since 1999. He ranked 14th in the country in average assists (1.9) and currently ranks third in program history with 67 career assists.